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CME: FI Steer, Heifer Slaughter Up Compared to a Year Ago

20 November 2017

US - Federal inspected steer and heifer slaughter through the first nine months of 2017 is up 5.7 per cent from a year earlier, reports Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

Steer and heifer slaughter accounted for by feedlot marketings, as reported in the monthly Cattle on Feed Report from USDA-NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) is 86.9 per cent for the total, up from 86.3 per cent for all of 2016.

This year’s share of steer and heifer slaughter coming from feedlots in the USDA-NASS survey is similar to the annual share in 2012, which was the highest percentage of the last ten years. The trend has been increasing over time, so it is likely is also the highest percentage ever.

Steer and heifer harvest sourced from outside of the USDA-NASS feedlot survey is increasing this year. Steers and heifers from this domain are either imported from Canada or from feedlots with capacities less than 1,000 head (e.g. family farm feedlots, usually in the Midwest, or non-traditional cattle feeding states).

For the latest reported month (September), steer and heifer kill coming from this sector was up 8,000 head from a year earlier, at 351,000 cattle. Weekly data from USDA-AMS (Agriculture Marketing Service) for September indicates that slaughter steers and heifers coming from Canada that month was about 32,000 head, so that would leave close to 320,000 steers and heifer to be marketed from smaller US feedlots for the month of September.

For the sake of comparison, 1,000 capacity feedlots in Kansas marketed 390,000 cattle in September while similar feedlots in Colorado marketed 165,000 cattle. Steer and heifer slaughter sourced from smaller feedlots has been above a year ago in every month except April, usually running about 20,000 head more.

Slaughter steer and heifer imports from Canada are at 1.4 per cent of total steer and heifer slaughter this year. This is up from 1.3 per cent for all of last year, but this trend has been declining over the last ten years. In 2007, this percentage was 3.1 per cent of federal inspected steer and heifer slaughter.

Sixteen per cent of the September steer and heifer slaughter came from outside of the USDA-NASS feedlot survey. This compares with only 10 per cent in February, which is typically the low for the year. The high percentage for the year is usually in October, 1-3 per cent higher than in September.

In September 2016, 17 per cent of steer and heifer slaughter came from outside of the USDA Cattle on Feed survey, and then peaked at 18 per cent for the year in October. Ten years ago, 20 per cent of steer and heifer slaughter came from outside the USDA Cattle on Feed survey in September and then registered 23 per cent in October, the highest monthly percentage for any month in the last ten years.

The percentage of cattle sourced from smaller feedlots (outside the Cattle on Feed survey) in 2012 hit its low as corn prices above $6 for an extended period of months encouraged marketing of corn for cash instead of through slaughter cattle.

Daily Livestock Report - Copyright © 2008 CME. All rights reserved.

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